Executive Director – Southern Exposure – San Francisco, CA

Southern Exposure is seeking a dynamic Executive Director to lead the organization in its fourth decade of supporting visual artists, artistic risk-taking and experimental work. After a period of expansion and our 2009 relocation to a beautiful new space, SoEx is poised to address long-term strategies for its future and to deepen engagement with diverse artists and audiences in a city and region undergoing rapid and enormous change.

We are seeking a strategic and savvy administrator with a passion and commitment for the visual arts. The position requires an experienced and trusted advocate for artists and their work, and an awareness of and respect for Southern Exposure’s mission, values and history. Candidates should have extensive experience in nonprofit leadership, including fiscal administration, fundraising and development, board relations, staff management and community outreach.

Southern Exposure is an equal opportunity employer and makes employment decisions on the basis of qualifications. Policy prohibits discrimination in any employment decision based on race, religious creed, color, national origin or ancestry, disability, marital status, gender, age, sexual orientation or any other basis protected by federal, state or local law or ordinance.


The Board of Directors of Southern Exposure (SoEx) is seeking a dynamic Executive Director, committed to advancing its artistic mission and moving the organization to the next level in its development. The Executive Director serves as an advocate for Southern Exposure’s mission, vision, programs, and values, while providing direction to and hands-on management of its programs and operations. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and strategically guides the efforts of its full-time staff of 4 to successfully carry out the organization’s goals throughout our three major program areas: Projects and Exhibitions, Artists in Education, and Alternative Exposure, our re-granting initiative. The Executive Director works closely with our funders and manages the annual operating budget of $750,000.


An active presence in the Bay Area since 1974, SoEx is continually evolving in response to the needs of artists and the community while engaging the public in artists’ work. Central to our mission is to remain the most accessible space for visual artists to produce and present new work both on and off-site, learn and connect. SoEx provides visual artists with the tools and resources they need to experiment in an open and supportive environment. We also work to advocate to new, diverse audiences and build an ever-growing community of enthusiasts and supporters of the visual arts. Nationally known for extensive and innovative programming, SoEx acts as an extraordinary resource center and forum for Bay Area and national artists and youth in the public realm.

The organization is well positioned for the next generation of leadership. SoEx has an established track record and reputation, both locally and nationally, for supporting artistic risk-taking and experimental work in a professional setting. As a leader in the field, SoEx has pioneered nationally emulated programs such as Alternative Exposure, acting as a valuable resource for our peers. After a decade of expansion, and our 2009 relocation to a beautiful new space in San Francisco’s Mission District, SoEx is ready to address long-term strategies for its future, and deepen engagement with diverse artists and audiences in a city undergoing rapid and enormous change.


The Executive Director works in partnership with the Board of Directors to provide vision and direction for the organization and to develop organizational strategy to extend its impact. The Executive Director implements policies approved by the board, manages the organization’s programs and operations, and represents the organization in the community. Additional comprehensive areas of responsibility are to:

Collaborate with the Board on strategic planning and lead implementation and evaluation.
Design and lead efforts for fundraising and generating earned revenue, including donor cultivation and retention, while expanding support from individuals and institutions.
Ensure sound planning and support for program integrity and excellence, evaluate their impact, and clarify priorities for new areas of development.
Develop, mentor, and retain a highly qualified, diverse and committed staff, fostering opportunities for professional growth, collaboration, and meaningful engagement.
Develop an annual operating plan and balanced budget for review and approval by the Board.
Provide prudent financial management and productive, efficient use of Southern Exposure’s resources.
Develop comprehensive communications plans and strategies to promote awareness, appreciation, and support for SoEx locally, regionally, and nationally.
Ensure active and meaningful engagement by artists and SoEx’s stakeholders in fulfilling its mission.
Enhance and expand strategic partnerships, and alliances to advance Southern Exposure’s resources and impact.
Oversee day-to-day operations of the organization.


Our ideal candidate will be:

A strategic and savvy administrator with a passion and commitment for the visual arts.
An experienced and trusted advocate for artists and their work, for arts education and emerging ideas.
A skilled, proven fundraiser who can engage and inspire supporters at all levels.
Expert and experienced in building and motivating successful teams, both staff and volunteers.
Culturally competent and sensitive to the needs of diverse individuals and groups.
An adept and prudent financial manager.
An inclusive and flexible problem-solver, with a strong sense of humor.

Desired Attributes:

The ability to work effectively and collaboratively with staff and Board of Directors.
A commitment to open, insightful and transparent communication.
Adept at delegation and working with consensus.
Able to inspire, mentor, and empower staff and others who aspire to leadership roles.
Fluency in the issues facing the field of artists’ organizations regionally and nationally.
Energy and capacity to serve as an articulate, passionate, effective spokesperson.
Self-aware, accessible, and open to learning and experimentation.

Position Requirements

Five years of solid experience in nonprofit management and/or leading programs in the arts.
Advanced degree or equivalent in contemporary art, arts management or related field.
A record of professional accomplishment demonstrating excellent administrative, planning and organizational skills, negotiation and problem solving.
Strong interpersonal and oral/written communication skills.
Demonstrated ability to develop and achieve fundraising goals.
Skilled in financial management, including budgeting and allocation of resources.
Ability to manage multiple projects with competing priorities; and to navigate complex systems with multiple constituencies.
Ability to cultivate and steward strategic and impactful partnerships.
Comfortable with desktop office programs and technology; adept in use of online media, and avidly interested in new platforms for dissemination of art and ideas.

How to apply

To apply, please email in confidence a letter of interest and resume to Executive Director Search at edsearch@soex.org. No phone calls please. Position open until filled. Incomplete applications will not be considered.